Women and climate change

Effects of climate change on women and girls

Women are disproportionally affected by the impacts of climate change all over the world. Women’s traditional roles as the primary users and managers of natural resources, primary caregivers, and keepers of the home mean they are involved in and depend on livelihoods and resources that are put most at risk by climate change.

For example, women farmers currently account for 45 to 80 percent of all food production in developing countries, based on their region. Traditional food sources become more unpredictable because of climate change. This impacts their ability to feed and provide for their families.

Indigenous women have experienced the impacts of climate change for generations. They have also been leaders in conserving the environment for even longer. Their knowledge and unique experiences in fighting climate change greatly contribute to adaptation and mitigation actions for communities.

With their vast knowledge and experience, women still don’t fully take part in deciding climate action. Empowering women to act on climate change is a priority for the Government of Canada.

Government of Canada actions to increase women’s and girls’ participation

Around the world, women lead on the fight against climate change. These leaders have shaped ambitious climate policies and work hard to bring everyone, like more women and girls, in the discussion. Progress on climate change needs more women at the table.

That is why the Government of Canada is supporting them by including women in international decision making and supporting women as leaders.

Including women in international decision making

Including women in international decision making Canada proudly played an important role in adopting the Gender Action Plan at United Nations Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) COP23. Canada will ensure the plan is fully implemented. The plan will:

  • support women’s participation in climate negotiations
  • strengthen gender-response policy development
  • raise awareness of gender and climate change issues

Canada worked with the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) to hold a UNFCCC negotiation training session. The training was for new female climate change negotiators. Twelve participants came from developing countries in the Caribbean region. Canada also sponsored two of the participants to attend COP 23 as negotiators for their home countries.

Canada invited National Indigenous Organizations to participate on its delegation to COP23. Representatives included:

  • the Assembly of First Nations
  • Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
  • Inuit Circumpolar Council
  • Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
  • Métis National Council
  • Native Women’s Association of Canada

We encourage women to take part in the UNFCCC process whenever possible. Their experiences and perspectives on climate change are important and relevant.

Under the new Canada-France Climate and Environment Partnership, the two countries have committed to support negotiation training for francophone women from African countries.

Find out more about the Canada-France Climate and Environment Partnership.

Supporting women as leaders

Canada established the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council. The Council will help integrate gender equality and gender-based analysis across all G7 themes.

Learn more about the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council.

The Government of Canada is using Gender-based Analysis Plus to address the impacts of climate change on women. This analytical process assesses how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people might experience government initiatives differently.

To learn more, watch the video Does Climate Change Affect Us All the Same Way?

Canada is helping women cleantech innovators develop their innovations. Winning entrepreneurs will get funding, industry expertise, and federal lab space to further their cleantech venture.

Find out more about the Women in Cleantech Challenge.

The Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, hosted the Climate Leaders’ Summit: Women Kicking It on Climate on May 17, 2018. The summit supported Canada’s focus on climate action and gender in the G7. It also recognized women’s key contributions in taking climate action.

Climate Leaders’ Summit: summary of Women Kicking it on Climate (backgrounder)

Share your climate hero stories

Tell us how you’re making a difference or leading in the fight on climate change! Share your stories on Twitter using the hashtag #ClimateHero.

Follow the climate hero stories on Twitter and be inspired!

Discover our climate heroes

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